Left Coast By Design

Category: Slash Rant (page 1 of 3)

My Thoughts on Pokemon Go

Pokémon GO, an augmented reality game based on the ’90s cartoon that launched a few weeks back for those living the blissfully free life, has taken the world by storm. The premise is simple – you use your phone to find Pokémon while exploring the world around you:

Get on your feet and step outside to find and catch wild Pokémon. Explore cities and towns where you live – and even around the globe – to capture as many Pokémon as you can. As you walk through the real world, your smart phone will vibrate to let you know you’re near a Pokémon. Niantic, Inc.

On top of catching Pokémon, you visit PokéStops and PokéGyms during your journey, many of which are tied to landmarks, art installations and parks. From the highest of levels, simply an app to get people outside and exploring.

As someone who’s been following the phenomena since it first appeared as a beta many months ago, I’ve been intrigued how passionate people have become both for and against the app.

There are those who share how the app has gotten them outside exploring their city and getting exercise while they do it. Or the story of the Mom who is overjoyed that Pokémon GO has enabled her autistic son to interact with people and break from routine. These are just a few positive stories.

Pokemon GO in the Park

Courtesy of Roger Lew

I would also be remiss if I didn’t include the darker side, where people have been robbed, let the app distract them while behind the wheel, or even trespassed. For every positive story or experience, there is equally a negative one.

When Pokémon GO officially launched in Canada this past weekend, I already decided I was going to check the app out and experience for myself first-hand. Beyond the benefits that many others have shared, I had a personal interest and curiousity in how gamified augmented reality could have a relationship to adult learning (gamification is proven to assist in experiential adult learning).

I wandered around my neighbourhood, catching Pokémon as they “appeared” in the bushes and reeds of the lagoons in my back yard. I also stopped at the different PokéStops along the way to catch my loot. I spent the better part of an hour wandering my neighbourhood, enjoying the hot summer afternoon, and simply experiencing Steveston with some app time in between.

I enjoyed the time spent. It was a positive experience for me.

I wasn’t so engrossed in my phone that I let it dictate every second. I simply put the phone down and walked to where I wanted to visit next, appreciating the outdoors for what it is. Did I see others who had the phone in front of them? I sure did. I think they’re doing it wrong. In fact, any time I pulled my phone up I made sure to step aside and stop walking.

I mentioned this to my wife. I thought she might be interested in the app and thought we could go catch Pokémon together.

You see, my good friend Clay has a differing opinion on Pokémon GO (as expressed in his Clay’s Corner video series). He’s determined the app and phenomena to be of no interest to him. And that’s perfectly fine in my books – while Clay expresses his opinion, he concedes there are both positive & negatives to the overall experience. It’s just simply not for him.

Yet that tweet I linked above set off a firestorm of people declaring both the pros and cons of what some saw as a mechanism to combat obesity in our technological age or a new way to meet people beyond the world of social media. A few people expressed their opinion as fact and discounted a dissenting opinion as being fantasy.

Others suggested that our society should be ashamed of itself and instead of engrossing ourselves so much more in technology, we should simply appreciate the outdoors by… get this… being outdoors. They were the light within the darkness.

As someone who had a positive first experience with the app, it irritated me somewhat that people felt the need to tell me what I was doing was wrong. Whether it was someone telling me that I shouldn’t act so childish or another who told me to hand in my man card (sorry, but I lost that card a long time ago), I kept asking why it mattered to them what I did? It might be of interest to note, similar comments were made when I first began to use Twitter.

It also got me thinking – have we reached a point where we are asking the same questions our parents asked each other when they were our age? How about their parents before them? Technology has rapidly changed society ever since the Industrial Revolution, and while we look back at those times – be it the 18th century or the 1980s – as a golden age, how did those older than us feel at the time?

What’s true about all of this is that today is different from yesterday and tomorrow is going to be even more different from today. We may not like where the world is headed. We may not appreciate an app like Pokémon GO and the impact it has on society. Alternatively, we may embrace what we see in front of us and look for the positives that do exist next to the negatives. We may catch them all or simply wish they were never needed catching in the first place.

I guess the moral of this story is that we are all right as much as we are all wrong. The only reality is that we all have an opinion that we are entitled to, yet don’t have the right to impose it on others.

I simply want to be the very best, like no one ever was.

The One About Customer Expectations and Sony

When I put my money down on my PlayStation 4, I heard from everyone under the sun how I made the wrong choice because “everyone knows PlayStation controllers suck.” This really caught me off-guard because I never really had an issue with the PS3 controllers, let alone any problems with the console until the end.

Well, I guess yesterday was the day to discover these people may have been right. It seems the left analog control on my PlayStation DualShock controller (hereby known as the DS4) had determined the moving right was not in the cards for me and that I would rather head 90 degrees in the backward direction. And as clicking down said control was generally accepted as the means to engage the run mechanism, I was going to have to be satisfied with walking wherever my characters wanted to go.

Consider me frustrated. Continue reading

No Smoking & Lack of Enforcement

Smoking Is Prohibited

Courtesy of Márcio Cabral de Moura

A few years ago, we saw the introduction of some very aggressive laws in British Columbia to protect the public from second-hand smoke. Simply put, it is now against the law to smoke:

  • in any indoor public place – work, bars, restaurants, malls.
  • on public transit or transit shelters.
  • in taxis and work vehicles.

On top of this, a 3 metre non-smoking “buffer zone” was created around all public doorways, windows and air intakes. Some communities took it even further (as found on the BC Lung Association website):

Vancouver & Richmond

  • Smoking is prohibited within customer service areas of food and/or liquor establishments (patios for instance).
  • Within 6 metres of a door, window or air intake of a building.
  • Within 6 metres of the perimeter of a customer service area.

And mostly unedited text from the BC Lung Association:


  • Smoking is prohibited in any common public area; in a taxi cab or limousine; on a school bus, public bus or any form of public transportation.
  • Smoking is prohibited in an enclosed or partially enclosed shelter where people wait to board a vehicle for hire or public transit; in a building (except as otherwise permitted by the By-law).
  • Smoking is prohibited in a vehicle if any occupant of the vehicle is under 19 years of age.
  • (Smoking is prohibited) Within seven and one-half metres (7.5 m) of any opening into a building including any door or window that opens or any air intake.
  • Smoking is PERMITTED in a private club or in enclosed premises that are not open to the public.

District of North Vancouver
In addition to BC Tobacco Law restrictions, the District’s new Smoking Regulation Bylaw, 7792 prohibits smoking within six meters of:

  • A patio connected to a business.
  • Any opening into any building, including any door or window that opens, or any air intake.
  • A children’s playground, swimming beach, food concession, picnic area, skateboard park or playing field.
  • The site of any public event or activity that the District has authorized by the issuance of a permit.
  • The grounds of any municipal building used for public recreation.
  • Lynn Valley Village or Maplewood Farm.
  • A transit stop or transit shelter if other people are there.
  • The new bylaw also prohibits smoking in taxicabs.

Pretty darn thorough aren’t they? And just recently we’ve also seen smoking banned in parks throughout Metro Vancouver! So what’s my issue you ask? As the title of this post outlines, there appears to be an extreme lack of enforcement and I’m pretty much fed up about it.

I can’t begin to count how often I’ve encountered someone “on fire” at a bus stop. Or just outside a door. Or underneath the open window that I happen to be sitting opposite to. And while I’ve been apt to speak up and politely ask the person to “extinguish” themselves, the replies have typically not included language found in most Disney movies. Heck, I’ve even heard language not found in hardcore adult movies (or so I’ve been told). In fact, only a couple of days back I ended up coming to the defense of a young mother (with kids in tow) who asked a teen to stop smoking at a bus stop after he told her to “mind her effing business.”

Now in the interest of disclosure, I don’t smoke. Never have, never will. And while my opinion is that each person is their own boss in such matters, I don’t feel that a smoker’s right to light up means I should be subject to toxins produced by the cancer sticks – especially when the law is on my side. But there’s the kicker. While the law may be on my side, I feel I have very little recourse but to subject myself to verbal battery should I try to raise the issue.

Should the police enforce the law? Bylaw enforcement officers? Parking enforcement officers in Vancouver? Definitely! Yet if that means we take them off the streets to go on a smoke hunt, then we’ve likely not got our priorities straight as they obviously have been tasked with other (and quite often more important) duties. So what should we do? I think Josh Lavoie poses a darn good suggestion on twitter:

And what’s not to say these new peace officers, while looking to nab those smoking where they shouldn’t, don’t have other duties assigned to them? It may not be the best solution, but at least it’s a start.

Everything needs to start somewhere.

Slash rant.

Protect What Turf?

Earlier in the season, I talked about the passion I have for the game of soccer and by extension the Whitecaps FC. Even though the team’s record may not indicate a modicum of success, I do like what I am seeing on the pitch from a number of players and foresee big things happening with the team should the organization understand a championship squad is not built in a season or two.

What I don’t like is what I received via email today.

SSFC v VanWCaps_20110611_053

Eric Hassli – courtesy of Noelle Noble

Dear Season Ticket Holder,

First off, congratulations! You have done a great job of living up to the Whitecaps Supporter Pledge. Don’t let up yet, but well done so far on striving to make every Whitecaps match a unique soccer experience that you can call your own.

Now, Eric Hassli has something to say about protecting your turf – for 2012 that is.

You’ve done an excellent job of telling your friends and colleagues to try us out. You’ve helped draw the attention of the media, to see what all the fuss is about. But now, that attention is translating into competition for the best seats for the 2012 season. So next Thursday, August 18, be ready to protect your turf.

So let me get this straight. Eric Hassli needs me to help protect my turf? Sure, I guess I’m down with that. Eric is a pretty decent footballer and I did help convince Mozy19 to get himself a pair of season tickets too.

Here’s how:

You will receive your 2012 season ticket invoice and deposit information via email on Thursday August 18, 2011. Review your invoice, determine if you want any changes, then call our office at 604.669.9283 to confirm your 2012 seats. If we don’t hear from you right away, we’ll follow up with you to ensure you don’t miss the opportunity to protect your turf. We know it’s not easy, renewing your seats before the first match on Bell Pitch downtown at BC Place. But we’ve rewarded you for your support before, and we’ll do it again. In fact, we’ll do it again and again.

Every two weeks, all committed 2012 season ticket holders will be entered into a draw for great bonus prizes from our partners. Stuff like an overnight stay in a penthouse suite plus lots of perks from the River Rock Casino Resort; or a prize pack featuring tickets, merchandise, and a $50 gift certificate from PlayNow.com; or a Whitecaps-branded mini-fridge from Budweiser!

Plus, two Grand Prizes to be drawn in October – a trip for two to MLS Cup 2011 in Los Angeles, including airfare, hotel, and tickets to the match.

Wait a minute. You’re asking me to commit my hard-earned money towards renewing my 2011 seasons tickets for the 2012 season without ever even setting foot in the stadium and seeing if I like my seats or not? And for this, you’ll give me a chance at winning some prizes. A chance?

You must renew your season tickets with the applicable deposit in order to be entered. And there’s good reason to get in early. Once you’ve renewed your season tickets, you will be automatically entered into ALL subsequent draws. The full list of bonus prizes and draw dates will be announced on whitecapsfc.com on August 18.

Every season ticket holder has been a big part of making our Whitecaps matches an experience that we can all call our own. Now get ready to protect your turf, and keep the momentum growing for the remainder of 2011 and into 2012.

Your Whitecaps FC Ticketing team

While I’m appreciative of the tickets to the Manchester City friendly (albeit on one of the worst pitches I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen some pretty bad ones locally), I’m having trouble understanding the need to get my money so soon. Heck, I didn’t even have to pay for my season tickets this season until late January. And what exactly do I benefit from if I commit so early? Entry to a contest where my odds are likely the same as those 50/50 tickets I buy at Empire Field.

In all likelihood, I’ll look to renew my tickets. I enjoy the game and I believe there is a light somewhere at the end of the proverbial tunnel. What irritates me about the experience is my perception of how the organization feels some level of entitlement to my entertainment dollars before they deserve to receive them. The team’s record is atrocious, the play on the pitch lacks chemistry, they sacked a coach midway through the season and have a worse record under the replacement, and yet they still want me to give my money for seats I may despise once I sit in them.

Somehow that just doesn’t seem right.

Slash rant.

Update: Two things to add to the post. If we were talking about renewing my seats at Empire Field, I’d be okay with that. I’ve sat in them all season and have no issue. Secondly, just received word that the cost of the season tickets is increasing 3% (due to increased costs to be in BC Place). Go figure, but I thought some people received a freaking discount THIS season because we weren’t in BC Place – haven’t sat in my seat there yet it’s already costing me more money. ARGH!

Your Vote is Your Voice

Today I voted. I participated in an advance poll to ensure that my voice is heard. I made sure to exercise my democratic right to help build a stronger nation. I did what comes so easy to us in Canada that others throughout the world are not able to do. And I left with a smile.

Why would I be smiling you ask?

It’s not that I believe I voted for the successful candidate – in fact, I can’t remember the last time I voted for my Member of Parliament. Nor was I smiling because the weather was nice. It wasn’t – it was pouring rain. I left with a smile on my face because I felt satisfaction that I was part of the process. I left with a smile on my face because my voice though one of many is still my voice and shall be heard.

And most importantly, I left with a smile on my face because I can take credit in keeping democracy alive.

Vote Mob @ Memorial University of Newfoundland

VOTE – courtesy of Kempton

You may say your voice isn’t heard. Well, if you don’t speak up then you’re probably right. You may also say that politicians of the day don’t respect what you have to say. This is also true if you choose not to use it. Or you may think that apathy is a stronger message. This is wrong. There are people who risk their lives to simply place a simple X in a box, and I feel that what they go through sends the stronger message.

Elections Canada statistics show that only 44% of eligible youth voters cast a ballot in the last election. Considering that these same statistics show that there are over 3 million young voters out there, the 1.68 million that did not vote could have easily determined the outcome of the election. Canada could have been lead by the party of the young voters choosing! How’s that for having a voice. And if you don’t believe me, why not listen to Rick Mercer who sums it up even better:

If you wish to ensure your voice is heard, use the many different resources that are available such as the Elections Canada site or CBC Vote Compass. As Rick Mercer says above, you’re not expected to vote so why not surprise those who doubt you – it will shake the country up more than you know! It will make this one of the most significant elections in the history of our country.

And that’s an election I’d be proud to say I was part of. Hopefully you would too!


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